05.23.2011

Heat from the Vault, pt. II

curtis knight - down in the village 1970

Curtis Knight - Down in the Village (R&B/Rock)

Curtis Knight was a guitar player who’s musical output was sadly overshadowed by his connection to Jimi Hendrix. This entire album is consistently amazing, with floor-shaking drums and bass (play it in the booth), and top-notch songwriting by Mr. Night. The WOBC copy is cleaner and more crackle-free than the youtube clip.

His other releases are worth checking out too. The self-produced “UFO” shows off his versatility.

Nick Straker Band – Nick Straker Band (R&B/Disco)

This group was way ahead of its time. In their 1981 album, they combined synthesizers, drum machines and smooth disco beats to create a sound that has since been imitated to death by bands from the last 10 years. While the Straker Band weren’t the first disco group to mess with electronics, they were one of the best. The record sounds like it could’ve been produced yesterday, and will come out clean and booming through the WOBC speakers when you play it at full volume. I’ve heard that some detroit house DJs used to mix “a little bit of jazz” into their sets in the 80s, which isn’t surprising once you hear it.

 

Cybotron – Enter (Electronic)

Speaking of Detroit,  techno pioneers and Motown natives Juan Atkins and Richard Davis formed Cybotron in the early 80s after listening to a lot of Kraftwerk and reading about particle accelerators. The song “Clear” had a massive impact on the electronic music and hip-hop that followed its release. Its been sampled a bunch of times, the biggest example being the beat for “Lose Control” by Missy Elliot and Ciara, which is basically just a loop from the song.

 

Thomas “Coke” Escovedo – Comin At Ya!

This is the second solo effort by the former Santana percussionist. I would rank it equally with his self titled debut, and way above his last record, Disco Fantasy. Though Escovedo’s career was tragically cut short by his early death, people continue to be introduced to his music today, largely  because of hip-hop. The song “I wouldn’t change a thing” was included in the popular  Ultimate Breaks and Beats series for the 15-second drum break at the intro, which was lifted by Eric B and Rakim for their song “Follow the Leader.” MF Doom also looped a brief snippet of “Hangin On” for one of his beats.

-Zach Freed

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